“Hey Google, how do I improve my ranking on search engines?”
What Google loves most is keeping people guessing about what the next greatest thing will be to boost their online visibility. It’s how they keep an even playing field so they can provide the best, most relevant information to its users. However, it doesn’t help you, the humble website owner, to grow your brand online. Luckily we have the scoop you need to trump your competition.
What we’re talking about is voice search optimisation—and it’s about to get bigger than it already is. In 2018, there were 25 million voice assistant devices worldwide. By 2023, there are expected to be more than 275 million devices in homes, offices and hands around the globe. But what does this mean and why does Google love voice optimisation so much? We have the information you need to know and the evidence in what you need to do next.
What is voice search? Voice search is speech recognition technology that allows people to ask their phone or device a question, and receive an answer. Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are all types of voice search devices.
Note: If you need to brush up on your search engine optimisation (SEO) lingo, our Essential Guide has everything you need to know.
How is voice search changing SEO?
Siri, released in 2011, was one of the first versions of what we know as voice search today, followed by Google Now in 2012. In 2014, the first models of Alexa and Amazon Echo were released to Prime members. Now, this is where we start to see changes to how people search online.
Voice assistants let people humanise their searches. It’s like if you asked someone for a restaurant recommendation; would you say, “restaurant on the Gold Coast,” or “Do you know a restaurant near here?”
So, where do Google and other search engines come into this? A search engine’s job is to provide the most relevant information to a search query, and fast. To make their job easier, Google loves prioritising websites who provide the answer to a query—which is why you need to optimise your website for new search types, such as voice search.
Where’s the proof that Google loves voice search optimisation?
This is a screenshot from Google Trends, a tool which shows the popularity of search terms over time. The search term we’re enquiring about is ‘food open near me’. As you can see, there was a slight peak around 2014/15, with a massive jump leading into 2017/18. But why?
As you can see with this search term, people are asking for a food venue open now, near them.
This is a key indicator that these are voice searches as it’s conversational. If we take a look at searches for restaurant Townsville over the same time period, the results are pretty consistent. It shows while voice search is on the rise, traditional search types can’t be forgotten either.
It’s not only food either. Take a look at these results over a 5-year period for the search phrase ‘mechanic near me’. Woah, right? And these results are going to keep jumping the more people purchase voice devices.
How do you optimise a website for voice search?
Before you even think about optimising your website for voice search, you need to make sure your website ticks all the other SEO boxes. Here are a few questions to answer about your website:
- Do I have an SSL certificate? (What’s this? Find out here).
- Are my URLs and headers search optimised?
- Do I have consistent NAP across all my listings?
- Is my content free of keyword stuffing?
- Can Google easily crawl my code?
- Are my images optimised?
There’s plenty more you need to consider, but these will help you get off on the right foot. Now, onto how to make sure Google loves your website for voice searches.
Improve your website’s speed.
People using voice search are looking for fast answers. If your website takes its time loading, you could miss your chance to give Google the answer to the search query. How do you speed up your website?
- Minimise file sizes, including images.
- Reduce server response time.
- Ensure your hosting is up to scratch.
- Enable browsing cache.
- Don’t host your own videos (embed from YouTube, or similar).
There are plenty of other ways you can increase your website speed. Our digital experts are always happy to have a chat about where your website needs a boost, if you need a hand.
Add an FAQ page to your website.
Google wants to answer a question. If you can predict (or research) what questions people will be asking about your industry or business, and then answer them thoroughly, you’ve made their job easier. An easy trick is to open an incognito (private) browsing window with Google, type in ‘what’, followed by something about your product or service. Then, do the same for who, when, where, why and how. For example, what is SEO? Answer those questions.
Sound time consuming? A professional content writer (like ours) should know how to do this very well.
Claim your Localsearch business profile.
Our website is fully optimised for voice searches, including the very important ‘near me’, ‘open now’ and more. So, when someone needs a mechanic near them, a café open now or a vet open on a Sunday, they get the results they need from Localsearch. Even if your own website isn’t search optimised, a business profile on Localsearch will lead people to it.
How do you claim your Localsearch business profile? Visit www.localsearch.com.au, search for your business, click on your profile and select ‘Claim this Profile’.
Plus, a Localsearch business profile is a quality backlink, which is also great for SEO. Learn more here.
Be thorough with your content, but write in real talk.
Google loves a business who is an authority on a topic. To do this, be thorough with your content. This can be done easily with blogs. By creating what are known as pillar or skyscraper blogs, you can write lengthy articles on a topic, creating authority.
However, if the content doesn’t speak to your audience, it negates being thorough. You may know all the lingo because it’s your area of expertise but remember, your customers or clients probably don’t. Speak in real language with good spelling and grammar.
Don’t have time to deal with improving your search engine ranking?
We get it. All of that coding, content work, file and image optimisation and tracking of results is tiring to even think about. Why not let us do it for you? We know what works so you can focus on running your business. Learn more about Localsearch’s search engine optimisation services.